Characters That Were Played By Multiple Actors In The Same Role

For some television shows and movies, the same character must be shown at different stages of their life. Whether it’s in the form of flashbacks, flashforwards, or other more complicated instances, it’s a useful film technique that helps add depth to the storyline. While this can be done using makeup or computer-animation, oftentimes, it’s easier to find another actor or a family member that looks similar to another actor and can convincingly play the same character but at a different age. Here’s a list of actors that played the same character in a role, just at different ages.

Jamie Lynn Spears And Britney Spears In Crossroads

Spears sisters
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Released in 2002, Crossroads is a road-trip comedy film starring Britney Spears, Anson Mount, and Zoe Saldana, among others. The film follows three teenage girls on a cross-country road trip and their friendship that develops along the way.

Although Spears is the star, playing Lucy Wagner, the movie is also the debut of her younger sister, Jamie Lynn Spears. Only 11 during filming, she was the perfect age to play the younger version of Britney’s character.

Daniel Radcliffe And John Hamm In A Young Doctor’s Notebook

Actors in the show
BBC Worldwide
BBC Worldwide

A Young Doctor’s Notebook is a dark British comedy series based on a collection of short stories by Mikhail Bulgakov. The series stars John Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe as the main character, Dr. Vladmir “Nika” Bomgard, a doctor at a fictional hospital in Russia at different ages.

The two series were released in 2013, with the first and taking place in 1917 during the Russian Revolution and the second series occurring the next year during the Russian Civil War.

Camilla Belle And Sandra Bullock In Practical Magic

Actresses in Practical Magic
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

A fantasy-comedy film, Practical Magic is based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Alice Hoffman. Directed by Griffin Dunne and starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, the two actresses play sisters Sally and Gillian Owens, who discover that they are actually witches after being raised on by their eccentric aunts.

In the film, Camilla Belle plays a young Sally Owens, whose adult version is portrayed by Bullock. Belle was nominated for the 1999 Youth in Film Young Artist Award for her work on the film.

Thomas Brodie-Sangster And James Franco in Tristan & Isolde

Actors in the movie
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Released in 2006, Tristan & Isolde is an epic romantic film based on the medieval romantic legend of Tristan and Isolde. The film was produced by Ridley Scott who had been working on an adaptation since the 1970s and stars James Franco and Sophia Myles.

As it turns out, this was also Franchise Pictures’ last film before filing for bankruptcy. James Franco stars as Tristan with Thomas Brodie-Sangster, known for Love Actually, playing the younger version of Franco’s legendary character.

Alice Richmond And Tina Fey In 30 Rock

Actresses in 30 Rock
NBC
NBC

Airing on NBC from October 2006 to January 2013, 30 Rock is a satirical sitcom created by Tina Fey, based on her experiences while working as a head writer for Saturday Night Live. During its run, the series won several awards including multiple Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy series.

Starring Fey as Liz Lemon, in a flashback sequence, Fey used her own daughter, Alice Zenobia Richmond to play the younger version of herself and it couldn’t have worked any better.

River Phoenix And Harrison Ford In Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade

Picture of actors
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is a 1989 action-adventure film and the third installment in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones franchise. The film was a success, winning the Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing, with Spielberg turning down the tone and graphic violence after the reception of The Temple of Doom.

Furthermore, what also made the film memorable is the iconic opening sequence that features River Phoenix as a young Indiana Jones. Phoenix claimed that he based his portrayal of the character on Harrison Ford rather than Indiana Jones himself.

Ewan Mcgregor And Albert Finney In Big Fish

Picture of actor
Sony Pictures
Sony Pictures

Big Fish is a 2003 film directed by Tim Burton and based on the 1998 novel of the same name by Daniel Wallace. The film follows a frustrated son that is trying to decipher which parts of his father’s life are fact as opposed to the fictional stories he is known to tell.

Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney both play Edward Bloom with McGregor supposedly being cast as the younger Edward Bloom after the producers noticed a physical similarity between the two actors.

Jennifer Connely And Elizabeth McGovern In Once Upon A Time In America

Picture of actresses
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

Once Upon A Time in America is a 1984 crime drama directed by Italian filmmaker Sergio Leone and starring Robert DeNiro and James Woods. Based on Harry Grey’s novel Hoods, the film follows two friends as leaders of a small gang in a Jewish ghetto that grow to become notable gangsters in New York City’s organized crime world.

Jennifer Connelly’s portrayal of a younger Elizabeth McGovern was her first role in front of the camera before being cast in Labyrinth.

Robert Pattinson And Hal Holbrook In Water For Elephants

Actors in the movie
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Based on Sara Gruen’s 2006 novel of the same name, Water For Elephants is a romantic drama starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz. The film did incredibly well at the box office, grossing $117 million worldwide off of a small budget of just $38 million.

Robert Pattinson and Hal Holbrook share the character of Jacob, with Hollbrook commenting, “I was astonished when I met [Robert Pattinson], because I met him with a couple friends of mine and the minute I looked at him, I said to him, ‘My God, you look like me as a young man. Everyone who was with me said, ‘Yeah, he really does.'”

Elle Fanning, Madisen Beaty, And Cate Blanchet In The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

Picture of actresses
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a 2008 romantic fantasy film directed by David Fincher. Based on the 1922 short story by Scott F. Fitzgerald, it tells the story of a man who ages in reverse and the love he shares with a woman.

While Brad Pitt plays Benjamin Button throughout the film, Cate Blanchett’s character of Daisy is played by her, as well as Elle Fanning and Madisen Beaty, as she grows older throughout the film.

AnnaSophia Robb And Sarah Jessica Parker In Sex And The City And The Carrie Diaries

Actresses in the show
CW/HBO
CW/HBO

Sex and the City is an HBO romantic comedy-drama series starring Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw It is about a group of women in New York City and their personal and intimate lives, as well as their relationships with one another.

On the other hand, The Carrie Diaries is a CW prequel to Sex and the City, featuring a young Carrie Bradshaw played by AnnaSophia Robb. Interestingly, the two actresses never actually met each other before a Cosmo 100 luncheon in 2013. Parker told Cosmo that when she met Robb, she said, “I feel like I know you.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt And Bruce Willis In Looper

Picture of actors
TriStar Pictures
TriStar Pictures

Released in 2012, Looper is a science fiction action film about contract killers known as “loopers” that are hired from the future to assassinate victims who are sent back in time.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as the protagonist Joe, who is visited by his future self played by Bruce Willis. Looper was the opening film of the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival and was successful in terms of reception and at the box office, grossing $176 million on a $30 million budget.

Zac Efron And Matthew Perry In 17 Again

Picture of actors
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

17 Again is a romantic comedy film that follows a depressed 37-year-old named Mike, played by Matthew Perry, whose wish is fulfilled in an accident, changing him back into his 17-year-old self, played by Zac Efron.

In an interview regarding the film, Efron told MTV News, “We rehearsed a lot together, and Matthew was always available to hang out and work with me on my part [so I could play a younger him]. And we kind of did become friends during filming.”

Robert De Niro And Marlon Brando In The Godfather: Part II

Picture of actors
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, The Godfather: Part II is a crime film and the second installment of The Godfather trilogy, acting as both a sequel and a prequel to the first film, The Godfather.

The film stars Al Pacino as Michael, the new Don of the Corleone family, and Robert De Niro as a younger version of Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando in The Godfather. Both Brando and De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Actor for their portrayal of Don Vito Corleone.

Kate Winslet And Gloria Stuart In Titanic

Picture of actresses
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

Titanic is a romance-disaster film directed by James Cameron based on personal accounts of the RMS Titanic sinking. The film follows Rose Dawson, a survivor of the sinking, as she recalls falling in love on the ship with a young man from another class and the tragedy that follows.

Rose is played in the present-day by Gloria Stuart, with the younger version of the character being played by Kate Winslet. Both Winslet and Stuart were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.

Josh Brolin And Tommy Lee Jones In Men In Black 3

Picture of actors
Sony Pictures
Sony Pictures

Men in Black 3 is a 2012 science fiction action comedy that is the third installment of the Men in Black franchise, loosely based on the comic book series The Men in Black. Released 15 years after the first film, Men in Black 3 takes place ten years after the first sequel, Men in Black II.

Josh Brolin plays the younger version of a young Agent K with Jones reprising his original role, although Brolin almost quit because he didn’t think he could pull off a convincing younger Agent K.

Ryan Gosling And James Garner In The Notebook

Picture of actors
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

The Notebook is a 2004 romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. Starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, it tells the story of a young couple in their 40s that fall in love.

The story is told in the present-day by an older man reading to a fellow nursing home resident. Noah Calhoun’s character is played by both Ryan Gosling in the past and James Garner in the present. Gosling had to wear brown contacts in the film to match Garner’s naturally brown eyes.

Elle Fanning And Dakota Fanning In I Am Sam

Picture of actresses
New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema

Written and directed by Jessie Nelson, I Am Sam is a drama film starring Sean Penn as a man with an intellectual disability that is also the father of a daughter played by Dakota Fanning. Although the film received negative reviews, Penn was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2002.

It also launched the acting career of young Dakota Fanning, who became the youngest actress nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. However, she wasn’t the only Fanning in the production. Her younger sister, Elle, played a younger version of Dakota’s character.

Brittany Snow And Kelly Rutherford In Gossip Girl

Picture of actresses
CW
CW

Kelly Rutherford is known for playing Lily Rhodes on the hit show Gossip Girl. Yet, Brittany Snow made an appearance playing the 80s version of Kelly Rutherford’s character in a flashback sequence in the 2009 episode “Valley Girls.”

Initially, showing the younger version of Lily in the episode was intended to spark a spin-off about how she could have been a grunge groupie during the 1980s, but no such series was actually seen through. What could have been!

Ewan McGregor And Alec Guinness In Star Wars

Picture of actors
20th Century Fox
20th Century Fox

Both Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness both played the Jedi Ob-Wan Kenobi at some point during the Star Wars franchise. In fact, they were both featured, or at least their voices were in the 2015 Star Wars film directed by J.J. Abrams.

Abrams admitted to Entertainment Weekly that he relied on a “clever editing trick in order to bring back the voice of Alec Guinness to the screen, who unfortunately passed away back in 2000. Never underestimate the power of movie magic!